Carefully remove ticks from humans, dogs and cats
The time of the tick has started. Especially pets like dogs and cats suffer from tick bites. If the parasites are removed, it should be done very carefully and gently. If you don't dare or are unsure, the best thing to do is to ask the trusted veterinarian.
In spring, ticks hide mainly in the tall grass and bushes. There the parasites lurk for suitable host animals and humans. It is often assumed that the ticks fall from the trees. This is not true, however, as the ticks peel off as they walk past or climb up on the host animal or humans. The tiny tiny arachnids stay there for a while until they have found a thin area of skin to dig in and suck. A blood meal can last up to 7 days, during which time the tick swells many times over.
Avoid tick bites. Because when the blood is sucked, the tick's saliva gets into the wound and can transmit dangerous pathogens, ”explained Prof. Dr. Theo Mantel, President of the Federal Veterinary Chamber. The best known is the wood tick (Ixodes ricinus), which transmits the spread of Lyme disease and the meningitis that is relevant to humans, TBE. The medical profession is also worried about the riparian tick (Dermacentor reticulatus) that has migrated from the Mediterranean. This species is spreading more and more in Germany and infecting the host with babesiosis. “This disease is relatively new to us and especially dangerous for dogs. The pathogens destroy the red blood cells and there are always fever attacks or even central nervous symptoms and kidney failure, ”says Prof. Mantel.
Because in many cases the causative agent of the infectious diseases is only transmitted after 12 to 24 hours, the tick should be removed from the animal body as soon as possible. Prophylaxis should be given, especially if trips abroad or to southern Germany are planned. However, if the preparations are used incorrectly, there is a risk of serious illnesses and even deaths, especially in cats, as the BTK explained. Therefore, "thorough advice from your veterinarian is essential!"
It is widespread to assume that nail polish, oil or the like is smeared on the puncture site around the tick. Under no circumstances should this be done, as the veterinarians emphasize. Such a procedure favors the transmission of pathogens, since the tick "empties its contaminated stomach contents in panic" and the pathogens have free access to the wound.
If part of the tick gets stuck in the skin, the area can catch fire. In such a case, a veterinarian should be consulted immediately. "Nymphs, the early and very small developmental stages of ticks, are often overlooked and are also difficult to remove due to their small size." Even then, it is advisable to see a veterinarian if the bloodsucker cannot be removed.
In humans, the ticks are removed in the same way. The professional association of pediatricians emphasizes that parents should free their children from the parasites as quickly as possible. A very narrow pair of tweezers is best. Before removal, the skin around the area of the tick should be gently stretched. Then use the tweezers to grasp the tick in the head area (as close as possible to the skin) and then carefully pull it vertically without twisting. When removing, make sure that the tick body is not squeezed or pressed. Otherwise the contents of the stomach are emptied and the pathogens get into the wound. Wash and disinfect the puncture site after removal. If part of the tick gets stuck in the skin, those affected should immediately consult a doctor to avoid an inflammatory reaction. Treatment with glue, oil, fire or alcohol should also be avoided in humans. (sb)
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